Learn how to make preserved lemons to use in all kinds of Cypriot recipes - the perfect way to make use of Cyprus lemons picked straight from the tree.
Freshly picked lemons
One of the pleasures of living in Cyprus is the abundance of citrus fruit, especially oranges and lemons, all of which smell amazing when freshly picked from a tree.While we have struggled to grow citrus trees on our own plot, mainly due to strong winds which blow all the blossom off in April, we have plenty of citrus orchards in the valley below, so when walking the dog, we just pick a fresh lemon or two.
Yes it's scrumping, but the owner doesn't bother to pick the fruit so why let it fall and rot on the floor?
Here are a few I picked earlier;)
But what do you do when you have too many Cyprus lemons? I mean we have fresh lemon and hot water in the morning, I make lots of lemon cake and I freeze slices of lemon to use in the summer when there aren't any fresh lemons around.
So this year I decided to preserve some lemons which have an amazing flavour and can be used in many recipes including classic Moroccan chicken and preserved lemons tagine.
Tip: It's really easy to preserve lemons but you have to use UNWAXED lemons - and all the lemons found in Cyprus are wax-free so are simply perfect!
Preserved lemons - Yum!
So here's how to make preserved lemons.
First find a large jar and wash and sterilise it thoroughly.
Next take 4-5 lemons (the number depends on the size and how big your jar is) and cut them into quarters, taking care not to cut through the bottom of each lemon.
Pour around a tablespoon of salt into the centre of each lemon, making sure the surface of each quarter is covered.
Pop the lemons into the jar - you may need to squash them down and some of the lemons may break off but don't worry.
Leave the preserved lemons for 3-4 days until they have softened slightly and the juice has started to come out.
Then add the juice of 3-4 lemons to cover your preserved fruit, label and store in a cool place for a month.
To use in Moroccan or Cyprus recipes, simply take a piece of lemon out of the jar and rinse the salt off before using.
The aroma from the preserved lemons is simply mouthwatering.
What a perfect way to use a glut of fresh Cyprus lemons :)
Final Tip: I've been using my Cyprus preserved lemons in a quinoa and lentil salad recently. Just throw in any ingredients of your choice into the mix - celery/radish/nuts/raisins etc - and chop up a few preserved lemons to add to the lemon jiuce and olive oil dressing. Delicious!
Making Olive oil by picking your own olives
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